Mas, Ortega and Rigau won’t go to prison for 9-N symbolic vote
Neither former Catalan President Artur Mas, former Vice President Joana Ortega nor former Catalan Minister for Education Irene Rigau will go to prison for organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. The judge investigating the case opened on Thursday an oral hearing against the three politicians for the crimes of disobedience and administrative corruption, but dismissed the charge for embezzlement of public funds, the only one that could result in imprisonment. In doing so, the magistrate is in accordance with the resolution of Catalonia’s Public Prosecutor, which last week requested a 10-year ban from public office for Mas and a 9-year ban for the other two public figures summonsed over the same case, but did not accuse them of misappropriation of public money.
Barcelona (CNA).- The judge investigating the case of the 9-N symbolic vote opened this Thursday an oral hearing against the former Catalan President Artur Mas, the former Vice President Joana Ortega and the former Minister for Education Irene Rigau for the crimes of disobedience and administrative corruption. However, the judge rejected opening an oral hearing for the crime of embezzlement of public funds, the only charge that could involve imprisonment. In this way, the magistrate disagreed with the popular accusation, which demanded 6 years of imprisonment, and instead agreed with Catalonia’s Public Prosecutor, who last week requested a 10-year ban from public office for Mas and a 9-year ban for the other two public figures summonsed over the same case, but did not accuse them of misappropriation of public money.
As of now, the judicial parties involved have ten days to appeal or confirm the judge’s ruling. In it, the magistrate stated that the politicians did not embezzle public funds in the organisation of the 9-N vote because the budget “was passed and arranged prior to the suspension on the 4th of November of the (referendum) call by the Constitutional Court”.
The magistrate also recalled that payments stipulated in contracts were "enforceable by a third party" and that there was not "an appropriation without intention of repayment, for profit or devoted to an unauthorised end”, because by that time the Constitutional Court had not yet achieved a resolution on the symbolic vote.
The prosecution, led by the Professional Union of the Police and the Federal Police Union, requested six years in prison for the alleged crime of embezzlement and ten years of ineligibility for public office, to add to the twelve years of disqualification and a fine of €36,000 for each of the defendants with charges of corruption and serious disobedience.
For its part, the Catalan Prosecutor’s Office demanded ten years of ineligibility for public office or government for Artur Mas on suspicion of corruption and serious crimes of disobedience and nine for the two former ministers, as necessary accomplices to the crimes.